Friday, July 22, 2016

Day 5: Heading south

Not many people refer to Green Bay, Wisconsin as "south" but just to show how far north on the Door Peninsula we were, it was nearly a 90-minute drive to Green Bay.
Just as we have every morning, we had our homemade breakfast.  J and I had the hash brown casserole today, Kyra tried Swedish pancakes and Kyle got wild with bacon and white toast.  We then loaded up the car, said goodbye to Chalet A, our home for four days and checked out of Little Sister Resort.  I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't sad.  I could have toughed it out for a few more days. 
On the way to Green Bay, we stopped at Renard's Cheese shop.  I do take a bit of pleasure in torturing my children with anything touristy or educational.  I learned the difference between mild, medium and sharp cheddar while they stared at the walls because that's apparently more interesting.  We bought some cheeses (Hey! What else do you do in Wisconsin?) and headed on to Green Bay. 
What's the #1 thing to do in Green Bay? Visit Lambeau Field, of course.  Jason just kept muttering to himself, "It's a historic franchise.  This is football history." It was tough on him, as a Bears fan, but he sucked it up for the sake of being total tourists. 
That's Curly Lambeau.  He founded the Packers.
And that's Vince Lombardi.  He had some crazy success as the coach of the Packers.  Ask anyone around here.  They'll be happy to tell you how many World Championships the Packers have.  Repeatedly.  And they can't understand why you would cheer for any other team.  I got slight pass as as Steelers fan, but no one ever mentioned that Jason is a Bears fan.  We might have been run out of town.
We checked out the Packers store.  Holy crap, they have everything Packers: tshirts, sweatshirts, lawn statues, socks, purses, leather luggage, cutting boards, bedding, lip gloss, Pandora beads, cooking pots, even an Aaron Rodgers face:
(We didn't buy anything)
After that, we went across the street to Kroll's West for some lunch. 
Apparently a Man vs. Food episode was filmed there. We walked in and I looked at Jason and said, "This place is straight out of Goodfella's."
 Friendly service, good food, very 1960's decor, which is part of the charm.  Jason and Kyra decided to eat a little healthier, but Kyle and I each got a burger.  They put butter on their burgers.  I don't mean that they spread a little butter on the bun.  They butter it right up.  I'd like to say it was too much, but it wasn't.  It was awesome.
After a food coma nap, we thought about walking along the Fox River.  But it was 94°, so we decided to go the the new Star Trek movie instead.  The theater had real, honest-to-God, electric recliners.  It was nearly sold out and we were stuck in the second row. But who cares when you have your feet up and are leaning back with a bucket of popcorn and a gallon of Diet Pepsi?
Jason, Kyle and I liked the movie.  Kyra tolerated it. She's a good sport.
Must get to bed early. Driving to Milwaukee tomorrow to shop and go to the Brewers/Cubs game.  And hopefully not melt.  The dome was closed tonight and I think I am hoping it's closed tomorrow too, but what's a baseball game without freezing or sweating?  We sat through 37° for 8 innings one April at a White Sox game,  and sat through 102° in St. Louis one July.  We can handle whatever tomorrow brings. 





Thursday, July 21, 2016

Day 4: still taking it easy

(Today's photos brought to you by the hipstamatic app and my little point and shoot) 
Woke up to some rain.  So much for watching the storm roll in...the storm got here in the morning, not the afternoon.  I stayed up until 1:00 last night finishing my book club book, plus we had the air conditioner and fans running, so I heard nothing. I sleep like the dead as it is. Kyle woke me up to say we should probably bring the towels and suits in from the deck. It was a little late. Oh well, a little water never hurt a towel. 
Had our homemade breakfast and then got cleaned up to drive south and check out Ephraim and Fish Creek. They are cute little towns. We did some shopping in Fish Creek (pronounced "crick" of course) and Kyra was more than happy to support the local economy. We stopped in a shop called "Oiler's" where you could buy all kinds of cooking oils. We sampled several balsamic vinaigrettes, but I settled on some Sriracha seasoning. 
We had lunch at Wilson's, a restaurant that's been open for over 100 years. 
The food was great, service friendly and it had a fun, old-fashioned feel. We sat on the porch with a flagstone floor that's at least 70 years old. 
They are famous for their ice cream.  Kyra got the peppermint and I had Mackinac Island fudge. Kyle graciously helped to finish what we couldn't. 
We came back and the skies had cleared so we wandered back down to the bay (after I took a 20- minute power nap. So. Much. Ice. Cream.)
The water was too choppy for me to attempt standing up on the paddle board. (Good excuse, huh?) But Jason and I floated like pros. 
We returned to Fred and Fuzzy's for one more sunset dinner. A schooner came into the bay and demonstrated some sort of cannon shot and scared the crap out of us. But it was pretty, so the crowd quickly forgave it. 
Our final sunset was beautiful. 

Kyra thinks I'm nuts, but I try to catch that last tiny sliver before it drops below the horizon. Not bad for the point and shoot!
And once again, everyone clapped. Yay Mother Nature!
We check out in the morning. Kyra is sad. Kyle is ready to head back to civilization. 
(I still feeling like I'm floating)





Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day 3: More down time. So weird

Kyra got up early with Jason today to go fishing.  He caught one fish, a vast improvement over yesterday!
We had another delicious homemade breakfast and then spent some more time down by the water.  Kyle swore he wasn't going to after yesterday's sunburn, but we slathered his feet in sunscreen and toughed it out. His back was a little pink too.
Kyra stood up on the paddle board. I always feared that she inherited my less-than-average balance, but she does pretty well.
As for me, I'm still sticking with the sit-down version of paddle boarding. I really enjoy taking it out around the bay.  I can pick up some speed and there's very little chance of me landing in the water with the fish and stuff.  Maybe I'll try to stand up tomorrow. Or not.
Jason took the rowboat out for a trip around the bay and when he came back, decided to hop in the water. 
When he surfaced, it took him a minute before he was able to speak. The water is allegedly 70°. I don't know if I am buying that...
After naps by 3/4 of the family, we played mini golf, hit the local Piggly Wiggly and then had dinner at Northern Grill and Pizza. It was definitely a Killion-style restaurant.  Wings, pizza and beer, friendly service and trivial pursuit cards at your table for entertainment. We'd recommend it.  Jason and I had the white pizza with sausage, per our waitress' recommendation.  
We rounded out the day with a sunset boat ride.  We learned some interesting things about the bay, including educational tidbits that I won't bore you with. My favorite story (that I'm still not sure is true) is that our First Mate's dad lost his Harley Knuckehead through the ice years ago and it's still at the bottom, along with a Model T. 
The shoreline is beautiful! 
Kyle got to drive the boat for a while. Kyra refused. 
As it was the last two nights, the sunset was gorgeous.  It was a little harder to shoot from a moving boat, so yay for digital cameras!  I may have to start stalking the sunset at home.
The weather is uncertain for tomorrow.  Kyle and I talked about heading down to the bay to watch the storms roll in. Or we may go in search of Door County's best ice cream.  All I know is that if there is any sun, Kyle is keeping his tshirt on.  That skin that never saw the sun throughout baseball season is hurting a bit.











Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Day 2: Mom knows best

Slept like babies and got up at 8:30 to have a homemade breakfast at the resort dining room.  It's a nice feature included in your fees.  After that, we wasted no time in getting down to the water.
Kyle and Jason took some time to try to catch some fish.  They had exactly one bite.  We will try again tomorrow.  
We took out almost all of the water crafts.  Kyle is a pro at standing up on the paddle board.  He even pushed himself way from the shore standing up. (Take a look at those white feet.  That will come into play later.)
Kyra was very scientific in her day.  30 minutes sunning on each side and then some time in the water. She paddle boarded, kayaked and floated a bit. 
Let me tell you, that water was cold.  I mean, it wasn't Titanic-cold, but it sure took your breath away when you jumped in.  Which I did, but again, there is no photographic evidence.  Your imagination will suffice: see me jumping gracefully in, surfacing, gasping for breath as my chest caved in on itself while simultaneously panicking because THERE IS STUFF IN THE WATER, like fish and plants. But once I was on the float, I was all cool and stuff.  I even made a friend.  She's a biology teacher too. She's from Milwaukee and she said to me, "Do I sound like I have an accent to you? Because you do to me." I thought to myself "We are the same person."  I have this accent conversation with people all of the time.  Anyway, I asked her what my Illinois accent sounded like the she said, "I don't know, kind of southern..."
Jason and I decided to take the double kayak out.  He told me to get in first and then he leapt into the kayak and then we both took a bath...in front of the all of the people at Fred and Fuzzy's Restaurant. (See the umbrellas in the photo below? That's Fred and Fuzzy's.) I appreciated their applause.  
After a few hours, we decided to head back to the Chalet for lunch and to get cleaned up.  We went into Sister Bay to wander around and have dinner.  Sister Bay is a cute little town.
We had dinner at Al Johnson's Swedish restaurant.  They have goats grazing on their sod roof.  For real.  You can even watch them online: www.aljohnsons.com

The decor and menu reminded me so much of my Gram Sapp, which makes sense 'cause she's Swedish and all.  The food was good.  I had Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes.  The gift store, or Butik, was the source of much entertainment for my family.  I can't take them anywhere. 
After dinner, we came back to Little Sister to watch the sunset again.  This time I took my good camera. 
It did not disappoint.  
See the sun being reflected off of the water? I watched it drop through the lens. It was pretty awesome. Here's the very last bit:
And just like last night, the crowd applauded.  
And about Kyle's feet? Sometimes kids don't listen to their parents and sometimes parents just have to let kids learn lessons.  Lessons like "put on some sunscreen."
Kyle now has hot pink feet and ankles.  








Monday, July 18, 2016

Killion Family Vacay 2016: Day 1

Vacation 2016. Lots of compromise. Jason was going to India. Jason wasn't going to India. Jason was going to India. Jason wasn't going to India. Kyra wanted a beach. Kyle wanted somewhere not hot (also, no sharks.) I decided that Lake Michigan seemed like a great plan. We were going to do Mackinaw Island and the U. P. 
And then I thought about all of the driving.  We don't need to drive.  We need a break.  So, I decided to try to find a place in Door County where we could plant for a few days. By sheer luck, we were able to get into Little Sister Resort in Sister Bay, WI. (For the record, Elvis has been stuck in my head since I booked it a week ago.) 
Yay! Road trip! Six hours isn't bad, is it?
 
It was the longest six hour trip we've ever taken. To pass the time, we quizzed one another with Family Feud cards. I am terrible at Family Feud. 
Did you know that in Wisconsin, gas station food includes smoked salmon and trout? I didn't. 
We arrived around 4, checked in and walked down to look at the water.  It is beautiful. 

Little Sister has a lovely little area for enjoying the sun and the water. Jason and Kyle took the safe route and took out the paddle boat.  
Kyra and I took out the paddle boards.  I actually stood for about 5 seconds before I ended up in the water.  Don't you wish that someone other than me liked to take photos? 😉
Jason and Kyra worked together to paddle around in a kayak.

Then Kyle could not be outdone.  He decided to brave the slippery rocks and other unknowns of the water to try the paddle board.  I am so sorry to say that my camera battery was dead.  He was doing great, standing up, no problem, and then lost it spectacularly.  He lost his balance and the paddle board shot out behind him, ending up on shore.  It was good stuff.  After that, he and Kyra spent a good bit of time trying to knock one another off of the boards.  More to come tomorrow with a charged battery!
We had dinner at Fred and Fuzzy's right here on the resort.  We managed to get a front row seat to the sunset over Green Bay. Fun fact: the customers at Fred and Fuzzy's applaud the sunset.  It's tradition.
And now we are ready for bed.  With the windows open.  It's a beautiful night.  


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Photo Recipe: Old fashioned Photos

It's time to get back to being creative with photos. :)
Last month, I shot some family photos for an awesome local family.  A few years ago, they were able to purchase the farm that had belonged to the great-grandparents of these four children.  Can you imagine the wonderful history and the new memories that are being made?  It just warms my heart.
As we wandered around the farm, taking photos, I decided that I wanted to try to capture them on the swing (not original) with very serious expressions, like a photo might have been 80 or 90 years ago.

As you can see, they struggled a bit keeping the serious face.



When I came home and started playing with the photo, I tried to imagine the photos I may have found in an old shoebox at my grandma's house.  The first thing I did was use the layers function in Photoshop to add a black and white layer to convert the photo to black and white.  Nothing fancy, but I did lower the opacity of the black and white layer to 90% to allow just a hint of color through, like the photo has been colorized.



After that, I browsed my Love that Shot Olde World Collection textures.  I was looking for one that would give the photo a yellow tint and maybe make the edges look like they were slightly damaged. I chose a texture called "Sicily" and applied it in "hard light" mode at 40% opacity.

Here's what I ended up with.



I'm pretty pleased with it. I think that I may experiment with a little blur to see if I can make it look more old-fashioned.

If you'd like to try out some of Love that Shot's textures, you can check them out here.

Have fun being creative!



Monday, July 27, 2015

Day 9: Last stop

Some people have the push, the drive, the determination to drive 18 hours in one day to get home.  We are not those people.  We did that once and it was dangerous.  We were driving through Pennsylvania at 4 am, each of us terrified to nap in the passenger seat for fear the other would fall asleep driving, being passed by semis barrelling down the hills.  We slept for an hour in a rest stop and then made it to New Jersey, staring into the sunrise with eyes that we could barely keep open and swore we'd never do that again.

So, remembering that we suck at driving all night, we decided to take two days coming back from Boston.  It worked out that Pittsburgh was about the halfway point and the Pirates were home.  We had something to look forward to after that first day of driving.  More importantly, the kids had a reason to get up early and get into the car: we wanted to be there when the gates opened so we could watch batting practice and hopefully get one more MLB ball.

We were on the road out of Boston by 7:45 am, a minor miracle for us.  With luck, we'd be there by 5:00 and if the construction horror stories we heard about I-80 were true, we'd definitely still make the game.

It was a beautiful drive.  The kids slept for the first 3 hours.  I took adorable pictures of them, but since they are teens, I will respect the fact that they'd be mortified if I shared them.

The drive was beautiful, save the orange construction cones.  We lost about 30 minutes when it went down to one lane for miles and there was no construction in sight.


Driving out east makes you appreciate what a pain it must be to actually build roads out there.  And be grateful that we only have to push around dirt in the Midwest, vs. blowing up mountains.


The camera does a really crappy job of showing you how pretty it really is.  This was my favorite for a sense of the size of the hills. 


In order to get into Pittsburgh from the south, you have to go through the Squirrel Hill Tunnel.  Pardon the bug guts on the windshield, but imagine that, for superstition and fun, you try to hold your breath for the entire 4,225 ft length.  Going less than 55 mph.  We failed.  


We made it to PNC just as the gates were opening.  It was all I could do to get the family to pause for a forced-family-fun selfie before we walked across the Clemente Bridge to the park.  It was no Golden Gate Bridge, but I still got a little emotional.  I am such a weirdo.


We were in the front row, just like Bob Uecker.  The front row of the outfield that is, but it was a fun place to sit.  The kids got to play ring toss with the fun crew that was walking around.  We did not get a ball during BP though.  The Nats just weren't hitting them out, at least during BP.  They hit plenty out during the game.


The Pirate Parrot was giving this Nats fan the what-for.  You can see the Pittsburgh Skyline in the background.  It's a gorgeous park.


View from our seats.  Starling Marte was right there.  The Nats left-fielder, den Decker took a little heat from the Pirates fans for that name of his.  The two Ks got a bit of an education.  (I'm sure they've never heard anything like that at school.)


The Pirates hhold Pierogie races for entertainment.  The night we were there, it was a relay race against the National's Presidents.  That dirty Teddy Roosevelt took out one of the Pierogies.


Although we never did get a ball, nor did the Pirates play well, it was still a fun night at the ballpark.  I will always recommend PNC to people.